Report: Innovative New Machinery at PACK EXPO Connects

PMMI Media Group editors—covering a virtual event instead of an in-person exposition—divided and conquered to collectively take in as much of PACK EXPO Connects as possible. Here’s what they saw in the machinery category.

NOTE: Machinery wasn’t the only area of interest at PACK EXPO. Click the links that follow to read more about innovations in:

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As flexible packaging continues to grow in popularity partly due to its sustainability bona fides, it comes as no surprise that innovations in both vertical and horizontal form/fill/seal systems were on full display at PACK EXPO Connects. Here we take a brief look at seven notable developments, beginning with one from Triangle Package.Image #1 in the article text.Image #1 in the article text.

For liquid or semi-liquid fill applications, Triangle’s new Model XYTLF (vf/f/s) bagger (1) offers greater throughput, superior sanitation, and material savings, according to the company, all without a required film contract. Designed for foodservice and other applications, including hot fill and pumpable products, Model XYTLF packages products such as soups, sauces, mashed potatoes, bakery batters, and fruit fillings, as well as ready-to-eat macaroni and cheese. Speeds run up to 30 gal/min.

As demonstrated at PACK EXPO Connects, the Model XYTLF can be integrated with a Hinds-Bock pump or other liquid filler. Standard features on the Triangle X-Series include Rockwell Automation/Allen Bradley ControlLogix, AB Kinetics Servo Drives, and AB PowerFlex AC Drives.

Model XYTLF offers several unique benefits, including improved productivity thanks to an innovative design that uses servo filling with squeegee staging for better precision, flexibility, clean seals, no leakers, and less air in the bag. Since there is no film contract required, packagers can choose their own film supplier and have more control over material costs. The vf/f/s system is also a cost-saving alternative to premade bags or rigid containers such as cans.

Sanitary design features include quick removal of sealing jaws and back seal components for easy washdown, hygienic IP69K stainless steel motors with air purge, and pivoting control box for four sides of machine access. To top it off, optional features include ultrasonic sealing for higher speeds and 100% seal integrity, and check weight feedback for precise filling.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Triangle at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/140.

Image #2 in the article text.Image #2 in the article text.BW Flexible Systems’ new Hayssen ISB vf/f/s solution (2) aims to provide best-in-class sanitary design, modern industrial machine intelligence, and intuitive operation for vertical form-fill-seal packaging. To develop the ISB (intelligent sanitary bagger) BW Flexible Systems conducted voice-of-customer interviews in target markets—including fresh produce, frozen/individual quick freezing (IQF), and cheese—asking about pain points and preferred features.

“What we heard in those conversations was a need for an unparalleled hygienic design that was both easy to change over and flexible and intuitive to operate,” said Ed Haarsgaard, BW Flexible Systems’ Sales Leader for new machinery. “The Hayssen ISB delivers a powerful sanitary design and modern intelligent systems, made possible by our customer-centered approach and deep flexible-packaging knowledge from decades of experience.”

The entire machine is high-pressure washdown capable, including its human-machine interface (HMI), which would typically require protection due to its sensitive components. This vf/f/fs has earned an IP66 weather-proofing rating and a NEMA 4X rating for enclosures. Other hygienic features include its frame, which is an open-channel design with sloped surfaces built to have no more than one square-inch of surface-to-surface contact between components. Image #3 in the article text.Image #3 in the article text.

Furthermore, the Hayssen ISB uses standoffs and flanged fasteners to eliminate secondary hardware like washers, and the bagger’s film rollers are fully removable without tools and come completely sealed with lifetime bearings. In addition, vacuum belts, a potential source for contamination and pathogen growth, have been eliminated in favor of friction belts.

The Hayssen ISB’s HMI can be equipped with cellular network capabilities to communicate with tablets for training opportunities without affecting production needs. The system can self-diagnose potential issues in real-time and automatically calculate program values to maximize performance.

Changeovers on the Hayssen ISB are toolless except for the sealing jaws. The machine features passthrough film threading, and its entire unwind and film path has been engineered to provide immediate film tracking adjustments. Film tension is managed and maintained automatically using a laser measuring system.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Hayssen and BW Flexible Systems at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/146.Image #4 in the article text.Image #4 in the article text.

Mark Stenske, Service Manager for Matrix, a ProMach brand, used PACK EXPO Connects to demonstrate how the Matrix Bag-in-Bag provides an innovative way to fill single-serve and multiple-serve pillow bags in an overwrap or master bag.

The Matrix Elete Bag-in-Bag machine is essentially two machines in a single frame. In the demonstration, one bagger above was feeding into another below in a single enclosure. In a ground coffee application, the top section packages product into heat-sealed filter paper pouches, and the lower section bags those pouches in metalized film packs. Both rolls of filter-paper material and foil film are on the back of the machine. On the front, pull belts advance the upper filter paper as the vertical seal bar intermittently seals the top, and the end-seal jaws separate each filter-paper pouch, dropping them into a funnel to introduce the second portion of the machine.

There, on the bottom section, again pull belts advance the film, this time the metalized film, with horizontal seals making the end seal and a knife separating each metalized film pouch. All programs are saved into recipes and can be recalled into future runs.Image #5 in the article text.Image #5 in the article text.

Another application demonstrated included small, single-serve candy bags in registered film being filled into clear plastic film at a ratio of 10:1, equating to 90 primary bags/min and 9 secondary clear bags/min.

A third application, once again coffee filter pouches, uses a unique sideways-mounted jaw fixture in the upper machine to form filter-paper pouches into the round shape to match coffee brewing machine baskets. This means the pouches are oriented vertically as they exit the sideways-turned initial jaws and must be re-oriented via a transition funnel that twists the bag 90 deg to fit into the lower bag.

In all instances, the two sections are controlled independently via touchscreen HMI, and lengths, temperatures, and seal times are set independently. A clear enclosure allows easy windows into operations to monitor performance and correct any issues.

During the demo, attendees asked about ensuring safe transfer from top to bottom bag.

Image #6 in the article text.Image #6 in the article text.“Transfer is direct—in the top machine, the finished bag is formed nearly inside the top of the forming tube of the bottom machine,” said Stenske. “When the top seals are made and the bags are cut and released, it’s dropping straight down into the second bag. The machines have communication with each other, so as the top machine makes the bag, the bottom machine is ready to accept it and automatically go through its cycle.”

Other applications include snacks, trail mix, even single-serve pet food. As demonstrated, coffee applications used an auger filler from Spee-Dee.

“Pretty much any product you want to run bag-in-bag, we can do that,” Stenske concluded.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Matrix at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/300.

According to WeighPack Systems Inc., its extremely versatile XPdius Elite 1700 vertical bagger (6) is able to fill bags up to 17 in. W x 24 in. L and includes film tracking, tool-less removable pull belts, forming tube, and film roll. Video of the new large-format rollout is available in the company’s Virtual Showroom at PACK EXPO Connects. Available options include bag gusset attachment, gas flush, hole punch, tare notch, polyethylene sealing assembly, pivoting bag support, bag tapper for product settling, and lot code printing.

Capable of producing up to 3,000 large-format bags per hour, the XPdius vertical bagging machine includes twin servo motors and drives for its pull belt assembly and horizontal seal jaws. These drives assure total control over acceleration, deceleration, and positioning while ensuring high performance throughout production.

The XPdius vf/f/s machine can be integrated with any auxiliary weigh filling machine including Paxiom’s own PrimoCombi multihead weigher, Star Auger powder filling machine, or PrimoLinear net weigh filling machine.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Paxiom at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/796.

Modular platform for healthcare manufacturing
Optima Packaging Machinery’s Zero machine platform (3) has modularity at its core. The machine platform’s other key added features include format flexibility and an increase in output, as demonstrated by the OPTIMA Zero L1 version. Designed for packaging feminine hygiene and light-incontinence products, it packages these products into pre-made bags—usually PE, though other materials like paper or bio-based materials are also possible—that are conveyed from wickets.

With increasing demands for paper hygiene products, flexibility is key in providing a range of products on one machine, whether the products themselves are triple-folded, packed longways, or in a medium or small package. The new Zero machine platform is constructed to be completely modular. Some manufacturers may not require format changes in a given day or week, but the platform offers the option of achieving considerable time savings with motorized format changes and module shifting, as well as module changes.Image #7 in the article text.Image #7 in the article text.

The process can be adapted to the product when changing the format. One example of this is the OPTIMA Zero L1 welding module. When processing long-shaped products first and then small ones, by selecting the new format, the heat-sealing module moves closer to the stack. This makes the process more consistent and faster.

The OPTIMA Zero L1 offers the option to increase performance via a double extension, the “dual lane,” which is new in the feminine hygiene and light incontinence sectors. Modules can be switched without having to design a completely new process, so companies can be ready for future changes.

The system is based on a new machine structure. This can be assembled and built up in a range of varying lengths—for example, two meters or five meters long—and can accommodate the modules in different positions. In the past, the mounting positions for each unit were fixed.

The flexibility extends to software as well. The PLC has a modular design similar to what is used in mechanical engineering.

Simulation of the process and variants is performed during the design phase.

Optima describes the simulation of the machines’ interlocking functions and function sequences as a digital twin. This way, engineers in the design stage can see whether the mechanics, electronics, and software are working together in the desired way.

On the new Zero platform, Optima said there is more configuration and less design—more time is available to develop individual function modules. Up to now, it would have been necessary to develop a specific process around a specific module. All that is needed these days is to design and test the specific module and make individual adjustments in the plant, said the company.

Each customer only invests in the modules they need, whether they need equipment for a process capable of five format changes per day or a process that produces identical packaging at high speed for five weeks.Image #8 in the article text.Image #8 in the article text.

With the OPTIMA Zero L1, function modules can be adjusted. This allows modules to be added or the process to be adjusted optimally to the product and packaging formats.

If automated changeovers are not required—for less frequent format changes—a manual format change supported by adjusting wheels and counters will suffice. If, later on, the need arises for rapid format changes, this can be done using exchangeable modules.

Optima is currently developing additional modules for the OPTIMA Zero L1. These modules are designed for processing particularly small formats, larger-sized products, two-layer package configurations, and triple-folded products, etc.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Optima at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/483. 

Late-stage customization
At least two exhibitors at PACK EXPO Connects focused on late-stage customization solutions. First there was Buskro,
which debuted its Package Personalization System (PPS) at PACK EXPO Connects. Developed for variable-data printing, personalization, or late-stage customization, it’s a modular solution (4) that incorporates digital drop-on-demand ink jet print heads, typically (though not necessarily) from Kyocera. According to Kyle Kropman, Marketing Coordinator at Buskro, the sheet-fed PPS is suitable for four-color CMYK printing on paperboard or corrugated packaging. Thanks to the inherent flexibility and plate-free nature of digital printing, this system represents a way for a brand owner, for example, to inventory far fewer varieties of pre-printed packaging because it makes it possible to print multiple versions of packaging with little or no make-ready time. Built on its Modular Transport Base, the PPS can be customized for a variety of substrates.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Buskro at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/608.

Image #9 in the article text.Image #9 in the article text.And then there was a demo by Atlantic Zeiser, a Coesia company, where the star of the show was their Digiline Versa system (5) designed specifically for late-stage customization. It utilizes digital ink-jet print head technology from Ricoh and UV-curable inks that are suitable on flat substrates such as paperboard, plastic film, or metal. So if different languages are required, or a brand owner wants QR codes on certain cartons but not on others, or if certain demographic groups require varied graphics on cartons holding the same product, all you have to do is divert cartons to the Digiline Versa system as they leave the cartoner. It’s a great way for brand owners to segment and differentiate their packaging to serve market micro niches. It’s all about localizing, personalizing, and customizing packaging at the latest possible stage in the packaging process.

The one installation where this new Digiline Versa system is in use commercially is at a cosmetics company that is printing flat carton blanks before they even reach the folder/gluer. The blanks are folded and glued in line as they leave the Digiline Versa and then proceed immediately to the cartoning machine.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Atlantic Zeiser at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/219.

Horizontal form/fill/seal
Moving now to the hf/f/s side of things, we come to Volpak, a Coesia company, which introduced at PACK EXPO Connects the SC+ machine (7). Setting it apart, says Volpak, is that both the roll-fed unwind module and the rotary turret on which formed pouches are filled and sealed rely on a continuous-motion principle. Typically, these are both more likely to be intermittent-motion operations. Because the film being fed into the machine is pulled constantly without having to stop and pull and stop and pull, there is far less tension on the film. This greatly reduces the chance for film breakage, especially where thin films are concerned.

Forming of pouches is done on a module that is not unlike the systems Volpak has offered in the past, and it is done on an intermittent-motion basis. But when it’s time to transfer the formed pouch into the filling turret, once again the machine reverts to continuous motion. Held by a bag gripper, each pouch is opened , blown open, stretched open, filled, and then sealed.

Volpak says the first installation of the machine is at an Argentinian maker of liquid laundry detergent in 950-mL pouches, and they’re running at 280/min. Now in development, the firm adds, is a system that will do a similar pouch but it will be cut at a 45-degree angle so that a corner-fitment pouring spout can be applied. Two other things worth noting. The SC+ comes in three versions. The one that runs at the highest speeds, predictably enough, is for small  pouches in  the range of 100 to 500 mL. A second version is  for pouches ranging from 250 mL to 2 L, and a third version runs pouches as large as 3 L. And finally, the SC+ is also available in a version that is not roll-fed where the filling turret receives premade pouches.Image #10 in the article text.Image #10 in the article text.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Volpak at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/207.

With increased snack food demand in 2020, pouching systems have been a popular choice for machinery due in part to the pandemic and people spending more time at home. At PACK EXPO Connects, PPi Technologies Group showcased the new SN FME 50 (8), a small-footprint hf/f/s machine from SN Maschinenbau designed for short lead times and an entry level price point for end users packaging snack foods, gummies, herbs, spices, powdery products, lotions, and more.

Thom Cain, sales support manager at PPi, said that for the past few years, the industry has seen a push to run thinner, monomaterial films because multi-layer films aren’t easy to recycle. “But if a machine is not designed to run that material, it can rip.” With package sustainability in mind, the SN FME 50 is designed to run recyclable films, pulling evenly to avoid tearing without sacrificing speed.

The system runs at speeds up to 100 pouches/min and is capable of format changeover (toolless, as much as possible) in less than 15 min. With a small footprint of approximately 12.0 ft. x 4.10 ft. x 6.6 ft., the system doesn’t require much space to get new packaging capacity up and running.

With an added multi-head weigher (from a scale vendor) the machine can run gummies, which have seen increased demand in the nutraceutical and cannabis industries. Delivery speed is a main feature of the SN FME 50—remote installation can be completed in a few days.

The company also showcased the SN FM 060 125 system, a hf/f/f system with basic, premium, and washdown variants.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by PPi Technologies at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/486.

New from Cloud Packaging Solutions, the CMR II continuous-motion hf/f/s machine  can be configured for a wide range of complex filling applications. Among its features, the machine can handle pouches from 4 to 12 in. W x 6 to 15 in. H, with a gusset of zero to 5 in., operates at speeds to 140 pouches/min, is compatible with a wide variety of zipper closures, and is USDA-washdown sanitary.

Pouches are formed in duplex intermittent motion for the entire bag range, with individual compression control on each tooling post to ensure the highest quality pouch is formed. Once formed, pouches are transferred into continuous motion where they are secured on each side by grippers, after which they are filled by way of a traveling duckbill funnel that provides three times the fill time and allows for precise product filling, preventing product spillage and top-seal contamination.

Image #11 in the article text.Image #11 in the article text.It’s the traveling duckbill funnel that allows the CRM II to fill difficult-to-pack products because it dives into the pouch then opens to maximize the opening of the pouch and extend the filling time, which allows the machine to slow product down and meter it out. The duckbill funnels can be agitated and can also utilize baffles to assist in packaging difficult products.

According to Kyle Scalise, Global Account Manager at Cloud Packaging Solutions, who unveiled the new machine during a live demo at PACK EXPO Connects, “Cloud developed this machine as the next generation of our existing machine, the CMR 1500. The CMR has been very successful for us over the years in all dry-flowable piece applications, especially with very large fills. It has been embraced specifically in the pet food industry where products have difficult geometries and large fills, where a traveling funnel extends the fill time, allowing more time for the product to get into the pouch.

“We developed this next-gen CMR, the CMR II, after many discussions with our customers, asking them what their pain points were. We gathered this intel and found common difficulties: changeover time from one pouch to another, difficulty of changeover, and maintaining quality operators/personnel. With that in mind, we designed a machine to eliminate the complexity of a changeover by automating as much of it as realistically possible, thus dropping the requirement for highly trained individuals needed to perform the changeover.”

Automatic changeover can be completed in just 15 minutes. Scalise said that the tooling posts have the ability to run the whole bag range in the machine. In contrast to the past, where the end-user had to purchase multiple sets of tooling posts, now it is the one tooling post that ships with the machine that can run the entire pouch range.

Scalise added that the CMR II has the ability to run its entire bag range in duplex on the bagmaking section, eliminating the need for a timely change from duplex to simplex bag forming. The machine also features individual compression control on each tooling post, allowing for more flexibility in the variety of films and zippers that can be used.

The CMR II is built and designed in the U.S., in Des Plaines, Ill., with all parts and service dispatched from that location.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Cloud Packaging Solutions at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/519.

Image #12 in the article text.Image #12 in the article text.E-commerce offerings
Packsize International LLC’s line of On Demand Packaging box-converting machines and accessories have proven to be a sustainable and cost-effective way to optimize e-commerce shipping cases. According to the company, rightsizing packaging using its solution results in an average savings of 20% to 30% on packaging-related costs, such as shipping, materials, and DIM weight charges.

Key to the success of the system, however, is having accurate dimensional data of those products to be packed. In a pre-show interview, Cameron Stout, Director of Sales, Midwest for Packsize, shared details on one of the company’s newest products (9), introduced at PACK EXPO Connects, the Scan2Pack customizable, 3D dimensioning system, which he championed internally in his former position of Director of the company’s Advanced Products Group.

As Stout explained, not having the need previously for accurate product dimensions, many companies lack this data. “So, it’s always been a hurdle for us implementing On-Demand Packaging, because if you don’t have dimensional data or if you don’t have a time-efficient pathway of getting that information to the machine, then what’s the point of doing on-demand packaging, right?”

Among the range of solutions offered by Packsize for capturing the data are static dimensioning systems for low-throughput applications with a certain size requirement all the way up to in-motion systems designed for high-throughput, high SKU-variability applications. For the in-motion systems, the price tag, ranging from $45,000 to $60,000, is cost-prohibitive to those companies just getting into e-commerce.

To fill this gap, Packsize developed the Scan2Pack with partner LMI that uses a laser light scanner that Stout says is essentially a laser light curtain, with the software integrated with the Packsize On Demand Packaging machine. The scanner is mounted over a variable-speed conveyor. When a product passes under the scanner, the dimensions are calculated and sent to the machine via Packsize’s PackNet software. The machine then produces a case that fits those dimensions. To create a right-sized box for multiple items, the Scan2Pack employs cubing logic to the items as they pass under the laser light curtain.

Image #13 in the article text.Image #13 in the article text.“It allows a customer to be able to work quickly and efficiently without a dimensioning database and allows them to create right-size packages, really, truly on-demand. Anything they can put into the machine, they can scan, and it can be sent off,” Stout shared.

One unique feature of the Scan2Pack, Stout added, is that it allows customers to dimension larger items—up to a 48 in. x 48 in. x infinite-length item—in a cost-effective fashion. “We can design the system specific to each individual customer, which is not something that was readily available in the market. Everything else was confined by just a certain window, so this allows us to expand that window or contract that window depending on the application as we see fit,” he explained.

The Scan2Pack also helps customers build a dimensional database, a significant benefit for those companies just starting in e-commerce that may not have the sway with their suppliers to demand dimensional data. “This allows them to do it on their own, and it allows them to do it relatively quickly and painlessly, rather than having a temp employee going around with a dimensioning system on a cart, for example, then pulling things off the shelf and scanning them, spending weeks and weeks and months to do this,” said Stout. “This is just the most cost-effective pathway for them to either build a database or build their boxes in real time.”

Another product new to the Packsize range of dimensioning systems is the DIM2Ship. Using the manual DIM2Ship system, an operator places a product to be scanned in the designated corner of the table and then scans the length, width, and height of the item. The scan data is then transmitted to PackNet to create the right-sized box on an associated On Demand Packaging system.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Packsize International LLC at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/242.

Wexxar Bel, a ProMach brand, used demo time during PACK EXPO Connects to introduce the new BEL 5150E, which the company says is the first semi-automatic case forming, packing, and sealing solution with auto adjust case size changeover designed primarily for low to mid-speed e-commerce applications (10). Servo motors have been integrated into all three changepoints to allow for a quick and automated size change. With the constant size changes of e-commerce applications, the BEL 5150E provides a reliable solution unlike any other.

The BEL 5150E achieves the best results when integrated with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, tracking the entire process from order picking to shipping. For example, as picked orders approach the packing station, the ERP system sends a signal to both the BEL 5150E and the operator suggesting the optimal case for that order. The BEL 5150E can then begin changing sizes to the suggested case and the operator can select and load the properly sized box. Once completed, the order is verified, sealed, labeled and ready for shipping as the BEL 5150E receives the next case size information to begin the cycle all over again.Image #14 in the article text.Image #14 in the article text.

“The BEL 5150E gives the mid-speed e-commerce output system operators the means to greatly reduce their labor while increasing production,” said Sander Smith, Product Manager, Wexxar Bel. “In the world of e-commerce, operators are dealing with different sized products coming down to the packing stations. We looked at our system to find ways to create efficiencies for operators.”

Although many e-commerce applications seem to use between eight to 15 different box sizes, the BEL 5150E has the capacity of up to 30 different box sizes with the ability to expand if necessary.

While the best results in efficiency and productivity gains are seen when the BEL 5150E is integrated with an ERP system, operators can also select a box size from the HMI screen or integrate any type of input tool desired such as buttons, scanners, and more. In both cases the machine selects the proper box sizes and automatically makes the necessary adjustments for each product.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Wexxar Bel at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/116.

Inspection systems aplenty
Featured at the Peco Inspx PACK EXPO Connects showroom was the ScanTrac Fermata X-ray system, which provides high-resolution X-ray inspection for products conveyed through a pipeline. It has a variable-diameter inspection plate assembly for accurate and repeatable inspection of product flow. Metal ceramic X-ray tubes enable the Fermata to identify small pieces of foreign material, such as bone, metal, glass, and rubber.

The system can be equipped with a remote monitor for the inspection of pipelines off the production floor. The standard Fermata configuration includes a 4-in. diameter inspection pipeline assembly and a positive-acting two-way discharge valve assembly with mounting.

The Fermata is designed to work with piston pump systems. Material flowing through the pipe must be continuous with no air pockets. The Fermata pipeline system inspects bulk flowing through a pipeline at speeds up to 600 ft. or 300 gal per min. From proteins to vegetables and fruits, product conveyed in bulk through a pipeline can be inspected for foreign contaminants prior to packaging. Rejected product is diverted for disposal or further inspection.

Image #15 in the article text.Image #15 in the article text.Check out the many solutions featured by Peco Inspx at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/161.

THiNK, a new artificial intelligence tool (11) integrated on Sesotec metal detectors, is designed to help food processors produce safe food, comply with food safety guidelines and regulations, reduce waste, and protect their consumers and brands. The tool can virtually eliminate the influence of product defects and provides accurate detection of metal parts, with fewer false rejects.

“We’re using artificial intelligence in metal detection to detect smaller contaminants than before,” said Christian Stadler, Group Director of Marketing at Sesotec. “This allows for higher food safety.”

According to Sesotec’s live demo at PACK EXPO Connects, it’s difficult to detect metallic contamination in a product if the packaging contains metal or metallic film. THiNK technology has the advantage of working well with metalized packaging.

Check out the many solutions featured by Sesotec at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/529.

Making its debut at PACK EXPO Connects, the Thermo Scientific Sentinel 1000 Selectscan metal detector (12) employs fully flexible frequency optimization per application with frequencies from 50 to 1,000 kilohertz. “With a single-frequency metal detector, you only have one chance to pick the right frequency that fosters the highest level of metal detection,” said Alex Kinne, applications engineer for Thermo’s product inspection division. Processors can also use Thermo Scientific’s Auto Learn feature to pick the frequency, Kinne explains.

“Customers need flexible inspection solutions that don’t compromise performance,” said Kinne. “Often, customers will run multiple products on the same line in the same day. So, Selectscan technology was developed around the principles of performance, efficiency, and ease of use.”

The Selectscan metal detector works well for dry, inert products that have relatively low product effect, such as dry pasta or frozen foods. The Selectscan’s single frequency is optimized per application. “If you change product files, you may choose or may change frequencies to a different, yet optimized, frequency,” Kinne added.Image #16 in the article text.Image #16 in the article text.

According to Kinne, the Sentinel 1000 provides a high level of metal detection for food safety, reducing the risk of costly recalls due to contamination. “Audits are made easy with our Quality Assurance Check feature, which streamlines the audit process and stores records automatically,” Kinne explained.

Check out the many solutions featured by Thermo Fisher Scientific at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/125.

A new X-ray inspection system (13) from Mekitec uses separate, dedicated X-ray beams to provide better coverage of packaged beverages and liquid and solid foods. With a strong background in X-ray, Mekitec is using its expertise to bring innovative X-ray inspection systems to the food and beverage industry. At PACK EXPO Connects, the equipment maker demonstrated its latest innovation—an X-ray system that provides precise primary packaging inspection for products that are taller than they are wide.

The Sidemeki system uses dual focal spot X-ray technology to inspect both liquid and solid packaged products. This technology enables the system to not only see foreign objects, which more typically settle near the bottom of the package, but also the fill levels or cap placement, for example, near the top of the package, noted Juho Ojuva, director of global sales and customer care at Mekitec.

“You have a fixed generator looking at the bottom of the product. Then behind it is an adjustable X-ray generator that you can use in order to have the best image of the top part of this product,” he explained. “You can, depending on the application, have a Sidemeki system with one of these generators or both, depending on what you need to do with the system.” The X-ray beams are adjustable for various product sizes.

The Sidemeki comes with different connection options—both a side-feed option that connects in parallel to the existing production line and an end-feed option that connects directly to the existing production line. The side-feed option “is good for products that have difficulty moving from one conveyor to another,” Ojuva said. Integrated and automated rejection removes non-conforming packages from food production. As with all Mekitec systems, the Sidemeki has full pack-for-pack traceability to provide transparency and reliability.

A side-shooting X-ray inspection system has been on the company’s radar for some time, but Mekitec decided to take the time to perfect the solution, making sure it complies with the real needs of customers. “When we first started to specify the system features, we took our time to learn about the unique challenges, needs, and desires that food producers have with these types of products and inspection systems,” said Mikko Nuutinen, director of product creation at Mekitec. “We took on those challenges, needs, and desires and created the possibility of having the sharpest X-ray image and enabled valuable quality inspection functions even for the tallest food products without compromising the foreign object detection performance.”Image #17 in the article text.Image #17 in the article text.

Previous inspection systems targeted at these food and beverage applications have either been too complicated and expensive, or too simple with limited benefits. This is something that Mekitec wanted to change by developing the Sidemeki system.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Mekitec at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/241.

Loma Systems’ new IQ4 RUN-WET Metal Detector Conveyor (15) debuted during PACK EXPO Connects. The system is specifically designed for high-care environments where machinery clean-up is particularly harsh and frequent.

The RUN-WET specification of the Loma IQ4 Metal Detector is IP69k rated and hygienically designed following some of the key EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering Design Group) principles offering the best cleaning standards to withstand harsh high-pressure and high-temperature cleaning regimes, whilst maximizing production efficiencies.

“The IQ4 RUN-WET includes a number of enhanced hygienic features that directly meet the needs of some of our users’ top concerns,” said Antoine Dodier, customer relations manager at Loma Systems, an ITW Company. “Not all processing equipment is made to withstand harsh environments, in fact, some parts of the processing line are simply covered during washdown.”

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Loma at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/415.

Built for harsh environments, the Mettler Toledo C35 checkweigher (16) shown during PACK EXPO Connects delivers precise weighing results on a stable weighing platform that is resistant to high-pressure washdown and most caustic detergents. The system frame is designed according to hygienic principles, with access for cleaning and sloped surfaces to discourage liquid collection. The system supports speeds of up to 250 packs/min and a weighing range from 25 g to 7 kg.

The C35 checkweigher fits a wide range of production situations that require reliable weight control, including food processing. Optional conveyors and handling features, including guiderails to ensure smooth product handling, can transport open products such as jars, trays, and cans. It also enables companies to inspect 100% of their products, segregate non-conforming packages, and collect production data using one of two optional weight data interfaces.

According to Keri Klein, Product Line Manager for checkweighing, the C35 checkweigher can be equipped with infeed and discharge side grip transports to move open containers safely and efficiently down the conveyor line to eliminate spillage at transfer points. “These side grips are adjustable to accommodate product specifications and securely guide the product from the customer’s conveyor onto the infeed of the checkweigher. On our infeed conveyor, we offer small-diameter rollers to facilitate smooth internal transfers across the weigh conveyor and to the outfeed conveyor for seamless, accurate weighing,” she said.Image #18 in the article text.Image #18 in the article text.

The weighing of open containers as close to the filler as possible allows the checkweigher to provide filler feedback, as well as optimize fill weights by making adjustments to the filler, therefore minimizing overfilled product and reducing product giveaway. “Processors can also reject under-filled product to be reworked, ensuring compliance with label weights,” said Klein. “If the process does not offer the opportunity to provide feedback, weighing product prior to capping and labeling can also save costs by reducing packaging materials that are scrapped when rejecting off-weight products.”

Mettler Toledo’s communication solutions include Ethernet/IP PROFINET and PROFIBUS DP OPC DA/UA, along with TCP/IP, and various serial communications solutions. Fieldbus and OPC solutions have Pack ML (ISA TR88.00.02) as a fundamental part of their base architecture. C-Series checkweighers provide real-time monitoring of critical control points (CCPs) to support end-to-end compliance with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC) principles.

Check out the many solutions featured by Mettler Toledo at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/148.

At PACK EXPO Connects, Fortress Technology unveiled its expansion into checkweighing with the launch of its inaugural Raptor “smart” weigher series (17). According to Fortress, Raptor checkweighers have been designed for new-generation manufacturers embracing the digital revolution and include an intelligent conveyor removal system and intuitive digital process monitoring technology to advance inspection efficiency, target operational inefficiencies, and reduce product giveaway.

The Raptor range comprises three systems: a single-frame standalone checkweigher, a combination metal detector and checkweigher, and the XL case-weighing system for ingredient and big bag applications. According to Fortress, all three address North America’s calls for robust, accurate, hygienic, and compact food-weight control systems incorporating the very latest digital smart processing technology. Innovative common features across the range include no-tool maintenance, leading digital software processing, and a totally unique conveyor motor release.

Said Fortress President Steve Gidman, “This is a breakthrough advancement for the North American food inspection market that applies unseen technology to improve process efficiency. Raptor is a premium weight control solution that can be integrated with or without a metal detector, at the best price point. All delivered in a flexible, hygienic package.”

Among its features, the Raptor introduces high-end weight control technology to guarantee absolute traceability. According to Fortress, by instantaneously capturing sample readings of individual packs by the millisecond, the Raptor control system provides highly accurate and consistent weighing results. “Only possible by using the most advanced ARM processors, this data capture and analytics is a game changer for food factories concerned about product waste and giveaway,” explained Raptor Sales Engineer Matthew Gidman. “Using Raptor’s digital data capture feature, manufacturers can pinpoint upstream operational deficiencies, including overfilling of packs, processing, and packaging waste.”

Fortress noted that the Raptor also offers another hygienic first: It introduces a new tight-fitting conveyor concept with a quick release and disassembly of the deck, belt, motor, and rollers. Overcoming the longstanding industry challenge of loosening belt tension during machine sanitation, operators simply unclip and disconnect the conveyor motor and lift out the entire conveyor assembly. In just seconds, the conveyor belt is removed, along with its individual components, such as rollers and bearings, for maintenance and cleaning. The belt tension and alignment are instantly restored when clipped back into place.

Image #19 in the article text.Image #19 in the article text.“The Raptor conveyor is super-fast to disassemble, reassemble, and slot back into place. No tools are needed, which means there are no hidden contaminants or loose screws to worry about. Additionally, the tight-fitting, smooth-surface conveyor eliminates belt noise, which can affect a checkweighers’ accuracy,” explained Matthew Gidman.

Another feature of the Raptor is its new 19-in. smart touchscreen. The screen is bigger than most digital tablets, so machine operators can customize and bring to the foreground the most relevant parameters to their operation. Ranging from net weight, to average weight, to product giveaway, operators simply pick their preference for the home screen. Graphs and visual prompts help to flag and respond to critical trends.

For failsafe, auditable test routines, Quality Assurance managers can program reminders and test schedules into the HMI. Applying smart technology, visual alerts remind operators when a test is due. The test process, which includes preprogrammed test parameters, is clearly explained, giving no room for human error.

Specifically designed for high-care confectionery, chocolate, bakery, nutritional bars, and packaged meats and cheeses, the Raptor Combination system measures 1.7 m, which Fortress said is virtually half the length of a comparable combination system on the market. However, the company added, despite the compact size, the metal detector has a full-sized inspection head to ensure sensitivity is not compromised.

Using compatible collective parts, Raptor’s universal design also gives manufacturers the option to purchase a standalone Raptor checkweigher. Built to a standard 30- to 32-in. height, the Raptor checkweigher can be easily adapted to weigh different products, pack sizes, and formats, ranging from flexible to rigid packs, and can be moved to other production lines when needed.

All the same principles have been applied to the Raptor XL. Designed to suit any case or large bag application weighing up to approximately 50 kg, the reject station can be customized to remove non-conforming products from the line.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Fortress Technology at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/570.

Engilico at PACK EXPO Connects featured its in-line 100%  HyperScope seal inspection system using hyperspectral imaging (19), which detects foreign materials or contamination in the sealing area of rigid packages.

Automatic detection of contaminated seals is important for both food safety and production automation in packaging. For standard vision systems, inspection of the seal of packages having printed top film is very difficult as the printed film is non-transparent and/or has the same color as the contaminant itself. Engilico hyperspectral camera technology makes it possible to identify substances with different compositions, including plastics, paper, meat, fat, or liquids with a much higher contrast than traditional vision-based camera systems. In addition, when printed film is used, hyperspectral is the only imaging technology that detects contamination through the film.

Engilico notes the following details regarding its innovative technology:Image #20 in the article text.Image #20 in the article text.

• HyperScope measures a profile over a broad wavelength range; every pixel is analyzed individually and differences in materials or composition are detected; as a result, a region with contamination has a different spectral profile than where the seal is correct

• Depending on the camera type, this ranges from visual (400 nm) over near-infrared (950 nm) to short-wave infrared light (1700 nm)

• The spectral profile is built from the reflecting light and has information on the sort of material for every measured point of the sample

• Substances such as plastics, meat, fat, liquids can be identified in different wavelength bands

• The near-infrared light is reflected through the sealing film, even when printed

Go to pwgo.to/5856 to see how one of the top pet food producers in Brazil is using SealScope, another Engilico technology, technology for in-line inspection of its retorted pouches. And you can also check out the many packaging solutions featured by Engilico at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/296.

Also introducing hyperspectral detection technology was Key Technology, a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, which introduced the first VERYX BioPrint digital sorter (20) at PACK EXPO Connects. As the only sorter that combines near infrared (NIR) hyperspectral detection with color cameras, VERYX BioPrint analyzes a richer set of data about the materials it is sorting to improve detection performance and maximize process yield.

Image #21 in the article text.Image #21 in the article text.The VERYX BioPrint C140 sorter for nuts removes shells, foreign material (FM), and product defects, as well as shape sorts and color grades to maximize product quality, while virtually eliminating false rejects. It can be equipped with front- and rear-mounted hyperspectral imaging sensors for all-sided inspection of each object in the product stream. It can also be configured with color cameras and Key’s new Bio Fusion detection technology, which fuses information from both sensor types to identify and remove a wide range of foreign materials and defects from the product stream.

The accuracy of the BioPrint detection system uses VERYX’s high-resolution ejection system, which features minimal spacing between air nozzles to better target objects identified for removal without inadvertently sorting out good product.

According to Marco Azzaretti, director of marketing at Key Technology, the BioPrint inspection technology uses hyperspectral imaging and powerful software to create a unique digital fingerprint for every type of substance that goes through the food processing line. “It enables our VERYX digital sorter to see and remove more foreign materials and product defects and, as a chemometric inspection system, can even detect internal product conditions and the chemical characteristics of foods,” he stated. Going forward, Key Technology plans to develop VERYX BioPrint sorters for other applications where chemometric detection offers unique performance and customer value.

“As it continues to develop, chemometric inspection technology enables a digital sorter to know more and more about every object in the product stream,” said Azzaretti. “Greater detection accuracy helps deliver a safer, higher-quality product, while simultaneously ensuring a more efficient sort process to maximize yield. What’s especially exciting is the ability to leverage chemometric inspection to profile internal properties and even the taste profile of foods by sorting product batches based on sugars, solids content, and other chemical attributes.”

For example, the VERYX BioPrint C140 sorter can help processors of Spanish-style almonds detect individual so-called “bitter almonds.”

Check out the many solutions featureImage #22 in the article text.Image #22 in the article text.d by Key Technology at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/320.

Teledyne TapTone’s new Seal Integrity Tester (SIT) is designed to inspect cups inside the cup filler. Using a patented design that consists of multiple sensors mounted inside the cup filling system, the SIT sensor inspects each cup by compressing the sensor head to the foil lid of the cup at full machine production speeds of 200 m/sec and higher. The sensors monitor the lid deflection during the compression cycle, and the digital signal processor board calculates the inspection merit values to accept or reject containers with defective seals that fall outside user-set merit value limits.

The system can detect bad seals caused by product across the seal area during filling, deformed or damaged foil lids that cannot make a good seal, and weak seals that can be caused by a variety of issues, including out-of-range heater temperatures.

Said Teledyne TapTone, the SIT sensor uses state-of-the-art DSP processor technology and incorporates an easy-to-use PC user interface graphically displaying “good,” non-leaking cups in green and “bad,” leaking cups in red. Minimum leak detection specifications for the SIT system range from 0.006 to 0.008 in. (150 to 200 microns) with multiple inspection algorithms capable of not only seal integrity, but also gross leaks and missing foil detection.

The SIT system can integrate into an existing filler PLC using Ethernet Modbus TCP/IP or Ethernet IP and sensors that mount to a vertical travel bridge after the sealing heads in the filling/sealing system. The bridge will cycle up and down based on the filler index speed. Said Teledyne TapTone, bridge control will come directly from the filler PLC for perfect index timing.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Teledyne TapTone at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/278.

Liquid filling
Pneumatic Scale Angelus, a Barry-Wehmiller Packaging Systems company, demonstrated a filler and seamer (14) with a growing beverage market in mind. To meet the growing demand for hard seltzers, Ready-to-Drink (RTD) cocktails, sparkling wine, and higher-carbonation beer, the CB50C counter-pressure canning line scales PSA’s long history of expertise in high-speed beverage applications for the needs of the Craft market.

Counter-pressure technology allows you to fill highly carbonated beverages—in excess of 2.7 vols of CO2—by maintaining equivalent pressure in the can being filled and the product tank supplying the product. Maintaining this pressure prevents breakout, or excess foaming, that releases CO2 and ultimately lowers carbonation. True isobarometric filling, with the fill tank located above the fill heads, allows the product to be gravity-fed versus pumped upward, ensuring less product agitation for a quiet fill and lower CO2 loss.

Using proprietary magnetic flowmeter technology, the CB50C also ensures industry-leading fill accuracy, to within 1 mL precision. Integrated with a best-in-class Angelus seamer, the CB50C ensures a hermetic double seam to prevent the loss of gas and subsequent introduction of air that alter product taste, shelf life, and ultimately, brand reputation.

Image #23 in the article text.Image #23 in the article text.The CB50C counter-pressure filler joins the Pneumatic Scale Angelus inline canning system portfolio with an integrated 6-head filler and single-head can seamer, rated for continuous operation at speeds up to 50 cans per minute (CPM). Rotary options are also available for Craft brewers looking to expand their overall production, but keep their canning footprint relatively small.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Pneumatic Scale Angelus at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/283.

Elsewhere in the liquid filling sector, DTM Massman used its PACK EXPO Connects platform to demonstrate the PUREFIL 2000 in-line continuous motion flow meter filler. Designed with container flexibility in mind, the system handles the range of typical liquid containers, from glass bottles to PET or HDPE jugs, from hand lotion to industrial lubricants, and from 1 oz. to 1 gallon in size. The entire system is a cost-effective solution that the company says can accomplish many applications in speed ranges from 100-300 bottles/min that previously were reserved for more expensive rotary fillers.

The infeed helix or timing screw is custom designed for any bottle shape or size. The helix runs through the length of the in-line filling heads, and even has an option to extend to the capper after filling.

Mounted above the timing screw inside the filling enclosure is a high-speed 74-in. extended walking beam that carries as many as 16 filling heads, depending on the application.

The 2000’s flexible head and nozzle configurations are designed for precise measurements and fill-level. Fill technologies depend on the application, and a full range of fill technologies is available, including magnetic flow, mass flow, pressure overflow, time-pressure, piston-driven, and even gear pump.

A top-mounted pressure tank offers CIP with a single push of a button, and downward pressure offers consistent, repeatable fills. The 2000 series is entirely recipe driven, meaning individual recipes can be created for each product in your SKU range. Controls are all Allen Bradley-compatible. Class 1/Div 1 explosion-resistant electronics are available for applications that require them.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by DTM Massman at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/229.

Image #24 in the article text.Image #24 in the article text.Next gen induction cap sealer is backward compatible
Enercon, a leader in the hermetic sealing game, used its demos during PACK EXPO Connects to introduce the fourth generation of the venerable Super Seal lineup of induction sealers. Carrying over the best features of previous generations, Super Seal Touch and Max, the new generation now features mechanically and electrically integrated stalled-bottle sensors (sensors in demonstration were by SICK). The new line also contains integrated support for container rejection, meaning containers without foil cap seals never reach customers.

User interface has seen some improvements as well, with simple controls and clear, unambiguous readouts and feedback. The new line offers universal input voltage.

Perhaps most important to Enercon’s many existing customers—the company says it has the largest installed base in its category—virtually all of the previous generations’ sealing heads are compatible with the new Super Sealer line.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Enercon at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/156.

Digital printing
Memjet, a provider of modular aqueous thermal ink-jet technology, showed up prominently in a new machine that Kirk-Rudy was featuring in its PACK EXPO Connects showroom: the FireJet 4C pigment-based aqueous printing system (18). Using Memjet’s new DuraFlex technology, the sheet-fed FireJet 4C is an all-in-one sheet-fed digital printing system for paperboard or corrugated that takes the heavy-duty transport that Kirk-Rudy is known for and marries it to the four-color (CMYK) print quality, reliability, simplicity, and disruptively affordable price point that characterizes Memjet technology. It prints at 1600 x 1600 dpi at speeds to 150 ft/min.

Image #25 in the article text.Image #25 in the article text.According to Kirk-Rudy General Manager Bob Mills, the FireJet 4C represents Kirk-Rudy’s first application of Memjet print head technology. “When they came out with the DuraFlex technology, which offers speeds that we found attractive, that’s what fit the bill from our perspective,” said Mills. “A lot of our customers are looking for a machine with this kind of throughput plus high-quality full-color printing.” Mills expects to see considerable interest in a machine like this not only among converters of paperboard cartons or corrugated containers like pizza boxes but also among e-commerce fulfillment centers.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Kirk-Rudy at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/665.

Before segueing away from Memjet, it’s worth mentioning an innovative application of their digital print technology that could be a game changer if it manages to make it out of the proof-of-concept stage and into full-blown commercial production. Developed by O&PM Europa BV it’s called LabelSaver. As its name suggests, it’s a way of replacing labels on metal or plastic containers and using direct-to-object digital printing instead.

According to O&PM’s Dursun Acun, LabelSaver is defined by two characteristics that make it stand out. First, it relies on water-based technology where other direct-to-shape printing systems rely on things like UV-cured inks or electrostatic drop-on-demand technology. And second, while other digital direct-to-object printing solutions are decidedly pricy, the LabelSaver is designed to sell for less than $435,000. Also setting it apart is the rationale behind its design.

“Competitive direct-to-object printing systems are aimed at high output and printing on only one container type,” said Acun. “My goal is to have a flexible, affordable system running 500 containers per hour and capable of adapting to a variety of container types.”

Acun entered a proof-of-concept system in the recent NL Packaging Awards sponsored by Dutch media company Management Media and won a Runner-Up Award for Innovative Technology. That system consisted of a Memjet VersaPass print head beneath which a collaborative robot rotated a 1-gal steel paint can for 360-degree decoration. While the machine configuration that eventually reaches commercialization will also include a fixed Memjet print head, the containers being printed won’t be held by a cobot. Acun said that a more conventional transport system his firm is now working on jointly with AstroNova will carry containers through.

He also pointed out that both a priming unit ahead of the printing station and a coating unit after it will be part of the package. The primers, he added, are a big part of the intellectual property underpinning the whole LabelSaver concept. The firm now has five proven primers developed internally that make it possible to print on metal or plastic surfaces with water-based inks.

RX 4.0 Thermoformer
MULTIVAC used PACK EXPO Connects to feature its new RX 4.0 next-generation thermoform packaging machines (21). Part of the X-Line packaging technology is a process that assists in the digitalization of configuration and performance according to Industry 4.0/IoT standards. Seamless digitalization, comprehensive sensor systems, and networking with the MULTIVAC Cloud can significantly improve packaging reliability, quality, and performance.

Image #26 in the article text.Image #26 in the article text.Under the title of Smart Services, MULTIVAC offers packages that contribute to a deeper understanding of the performance of the packaging machine, providing valuable data that can be used to further optimize packaging procedures and make them even more efficient:

• Smart Production Dashboard—Provides real-time data of the day’s production run with historical information displayed for reference

• Smart Machine Report—Supplies the user with automatically generated monthly reports on the machine performance

• Smart Log Analyzer—Offers the user an opportunity to review relevant machine triggers that hamper performance to assist in improving processes

• Smart OEE Analyzer—Presents the user with historical data on the machine’s availability, performance, and quality

MULTIVAC Pack Pilot allows access to comprehensive expert knowledge and makes it possible to set up a new packaging solution at the optimum level when a new film is introduced to the machine. This produces packs with maximum packaging reliability, consistent quality, and very high output without production loss while trying to establish the correct machine settings for that film. This leads to significant savings in products, materials, and production time.

Image #27 in the article text.Image #27 in the article text.MULTIVAC Multi Sensor Control is constantly adjusting the machine settings to work very close to the optimum operating point at all times. Any deviations from this, whether conditioned by product or by the system, are automatically compensated wherever possible. The Multi Sensor Control enables many quality problems to be prevented.

MULTIVAC HMI 3 is an intuitive, high-resolution, multi-touch user interface that corresponds to the operating logic of today’s mobile devices. It enables the operating processes to be controlled even more easily and reliably. All the relevant machine parameters are displayed on one screen page.

A new die generation called MULTIVAC X-Tools features extensive innovations regarding design, sensors, and actuation elements. Moreover, the sensor modules are equipped with a status indication. Because of this, X-Tools contributes to increased cost-effectiveness in the packaging process.Image #27 in the article text.Image #27 in the article text.

MULTIVAC X-Map allows for accurate and reproducible gas flushing. This feature can be precisely controlled for packing with a modified atmosphere. It ensures all packages have the same final pressure, regardless of the volume of the product inside.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by MULTIVAC at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/180.

Marking and coding innovations
Videojet Technologies Inc.
launched its new Videojet 1280 Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) printer (22) that has been designed with two key focuses—reliability and simplicity— making it easy for operators to use and maintain.

“While there is a push for more advanced connectivity and the Industrial Internet of Things, a lot of people just need a good, basic coder that is simple, reliable, and flexible that they can use for their manufacturing needs. And that’s really the niche this product fits into,” explained Mark Breunig, Videojet’s Regional Product Manager for CIJ, North America. “It has the print capacity for up to five lines of print, which meets what pretty much everybody needs in these speeds for all sorts of basic coding applications. So, it’s good for all the things that ink-jet gets used for—batch codes, serial numbers, barcodes, all those sorts of things.”

The entry-level coder, which comes with an entry-level price, joins Videojet’s existing entry-level printer, the 1220, which Breunig said provides similar speeds to the 1280, but employs the company’s older, core-based maintenance system. “While it offers a very long time between replacement of the core, when you do have to do it, it’s a bit more cumbersome,” he explained. “For the 1280, while maintenance has to be done a little more often, it’s quicker and easier, and you can do it yourself.”

According to Videojet, with its SmartCell service technology, manual maintenance takes just five minutes—a reduction of 95% versus its legacy systems—performed either every year or when the printer reaches 3,000 hours, whichever occurs first. In addition, to help reduce unplanned printer downtime, the 1280 features Videojet Dynamic Calibration™, which enables the printer to constantly monitor environmental conditions and automatically adjust jetting parameters to help maintain superior print quality and maximize uptime. The 1280 is available with an optional dry air kit for very harsh and humid environments.

Image #28 in the article text.Image #28 in the article text.“Dynamic Calibration keeps the printer running better, longer and keeps the print quality high,” Breunig confirmed. “Even in these basic applications, the plant environment can change—it gets cold one day, and it’s hot the next. The dynamic calibration tracks those variables and makes sure the printer has the right settings for the environment it’s in. Even if it’s a simple application, the environment can be challenging, and the printer needs to be able to cope with that.”

If an issue does occur, on-board how-to videos guide operators through basic tasks without the need for extensive training. In addition, optional VideojetConnect Remote Service offers remote servicing capabilities. Operators can gain instant access to Videojet’s network of CIJ experts, connecting the Videojet technician directly to the production line for immediate assistance.

Said Breunig, not only can operators connect with technicians via the company’s Videojet Remote Service, but VRS also features dashboards that allow the operator to see the status of their printers. “When they look at a printer, and they see how that printer is doing, it’s like a proxy for the production line,” he explained.Image #29 in the article text.Image #29 in the article text.

Another feature of the 1280 is the company’s “no mess, no waste, no mistake” SmartCartridge system that drains fluids from the cartridge and offers additional protection against leakage during transport and handling. According to Videojet, the 1280 can remain unused for up to 14 days and can still provide excellent print quality on start-up without the need for additional printer intervention.

The 1280 also includes Videojet’s SIMPLICiTY interface, launched in 2018. On the 1280, a tablet-inspired, 8-in. touchscreen display is designed to reduce operator printer interactions and help eliminate potential user errors by making it easier to create and manage codes. “It’s a WYSIWYG [What You See is What You Get], tablet-based interface, like using your cellphone, which is definitely an upgrade from the product in that category that it was replacing, which still has an older, membrane-style interface,” said Breunig.

“The Swiss Army knife of print technology,” as Breunig called CIJ, the 1280 is applicable for almost every application. “Whether you’re printing on boxes, cans, bottles, or wires, and from eggs to airplane parts, it’s an applicable technology,” he said.

Users can choose from a variety of long shelf-life inks designed to meet their requirements. Videojet iQMark inks are responsibly designed and manufactured to maximize contrast, adhesion, and uptime while meeting safety, environmental, and regulatory requirements. Every batch is tested to ensure it meets strict quality control specifications.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Videojet Technologies Inc. at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/210.

Domino Amjet Inc.’s Gx-Series thermal inkjet printer (23) made its North American debut at PACK EXPO Connects. Rolled out were two models that are built to be smaller and easier to use and integrate while having the ability to be monitored for Industry 4.0 applications.

Image #30 in the article text.Image #30 in the article text.The Gx 150i with up to two print heads and the Gx 350i with up to four print heads are designed for simple batch coding or complex coding, checkweighing, or track and trace applications across the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries. The Gx Series comes with new ink that is darker, dries faster, and offers better decap time.

“What’s important to remember is that Domino still does and always has been the manufacturer of our own fluids,” said Paul Hammond, National Account Manager at Domino Amjet. “So if we discover the ability to make the ink darker, like we have, or make the ink dry faster, or make the decap time faster—which means we can leave it exposed to air longer, which we have—we don’t need someone else to do it. We can do it ourselves.”

In addition, the OEM board is about 80% smaller and lighter in order to save space in the electrical cabinet, and the electrical connections are easier to access and connect, Hammond said.

The new ink head has the flexibility to be configured in any way. The ink heads connect in the front and back (vs. the front or back) on the same printer, so it can be adjusted if production needs change. The print heads also have an LED light to see status of the print head when in use. And, a new user interface design—based off of iPhone technology—provides drag and drop of WYSIWYG elements.

Lastly, the Gx Series offers Industry 4.0 capabilities. It comes standard with Ethernet/IP communication protocols providing a number of different ways to monitor how the printer is working and providing different reports. 

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Domino at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/132.

Based on the printer landscape, Matthews Marking said that thermal inkjet can play a larger role in primary coding, particularly due to its ability to print 2D codes at high speeds. This plays into a megatrend in the manufacturing industry that moves beyond just track and trace and serialization requirements and considers another emerging area, called “market feedback,” that takes into account customers with a smartphone who use QR codes on products to engage with the manufacturer.

Image #31 in the article text.Image #31 in the article text.To that end, robust bulk systems and rumors of long throw cartridges emerging are overcoming the inherent obstacles of TIJ. And Matthews took a unique approach to bulk systems, introducing what it calls the Active Bulk Ink System (ABIS), which uses computer processors, sensors, and accelerometers to ensure accurate performance.

ABIS has two pieces. The main unit is a series of valves all mounted to the processor that is constantly delivering ink to the cartridges. And the cartridge sensor module is an individual unit, always monitoring the cartridge conditions. Atmospheric changes can affect the internal make up of the cartridge, but the ABIS’ use of a series of sensors and processors ensure that, as the environment changes, the delivery of the ink changes as well.

To view the Matthews Marking demos at PACK EXPO Connects, go to PE.show/152.

Squid Ink Manufacturing, Inc.,  a manufacturer of coding and marking systems for product identification and traceability, introduced the Viper thermal inkjet printing system (24) designed to print superior quality hi-resolution characters on porous or non-porous surfaces. The Viper offers a versatile yet cost-effective solution for coding and marking applications with up to 0.5 in. (12.7mm) of print height per printhead.

Viper TIJ utilizes high-performance Funai no-mess ink cartridges to print up to 600 dpi high-resolution codes on a variety of surfaces, including wood, coated and non-coated stocks, polystyrene, films, foils, and several other substrates. The Viper is ideal for users looking to print permanent marks that dry in seconds on glossy cartons, cases, trays, plastics, and more. The standard system runs at speeds up to 60 m/min (197 fpm) at 300 dpi, or the software can be upgraded to run at up 240 m/min (787 fpm) at 300 dpi.

The Viper TIJ printing system features an 8.9-in. full-color touchscreen PC that gives users access to the printer’s internal messages and print functions. The touchscreen allows users to create and edit messages using Squid Ink’s intuitive Sirius PC software. It is ideal for users who want message creation and editing functionality on the production floor. For users that print on many different products, the system features 2GB of storage, allowing users to program and save thousands of messages for easy print recall. The Viper also includes fully functional software out of the box that allows users to print date codes, lot numbers, bar codes, and graphics needed for most coding and marking applications.

Image #32 in the article text.Image #32 in the article text.The printer’s durable touchscreen, industrial strength printhead construction, and compact footprint make for easy integration onto an existing production line. The Viper also features quick-change ink cartridges, allowing users to swap ink cartridges in a matter of seconds to keep their line running, reduce downtime, and maximize ROI.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Squid Ink at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/308.

Hitachi’s new UX Series (25) improves on the existing Hitachi continuous inkjet products and is versatile enough to provide ideal marking on food and beverage products, health and beauty products, and a variety of containers from lip balm tubes to bag printing and oversized PVC piping.

The Hitachi UX Series was precisely engineered and includes time-tested, quality components. It also features an intuitive 10.4-in. touchscreen, a replaceable diaphragm pump, mess-free, mistake-proof fluid refills, accurate viscometer, and an IP-65 rating, which is ideal for wash-down environments.

The UX Series features a new nickel-chrome finish, making it corrosion-resistant and increasing the printhead’s lifespan in wash-down environments.

Hitachi shared how its UX Series was able to assist Baker Cheese in developing a print solution that fit into their current production processes. The implementation allowed dairy brand Baker Cheese to decrease downtime while increasing consistency of printing. With the improved output, the new Hitachi printers reduced printer costs.

Visit Hitachi’s PACK EXPO Connects showroom for more systems at PE.show/605.

Experts at conveying
Multi-Conveyor
has added to its portfolio a series of powered plastic chain conveyors that incorporate manual lift gates for operator access and pneumatic stop/clamp control for seamless merges. The new technology merges two lines fed from two existing case packers down to a single lane prior to the case sealer and palletizer.

Slightly inclined, the offset conveyors incorporate manual lift gate assemblies for operator access within a confined production area. The designated priority line conveys the cases to a right-angle transfer maintaining product orientation. Product ultimately single files to an existing case sealer, controlled by strategically placed sensors and metering devices.

Photo sensors and electrical safety switches are mounted and pre-wired for the mechanical lift gate assembly. Other features include LBP (low back pressure) transitions prior to the lift gates; stop clamp assemblies; and roller assist to maintain orientation through the right-angle transfer.

Check out the many solutions featured by Multi-Conveyor at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/198.

During a live demo at PACK EXPO Connects, Intralox discussed the flexibility and efficiency of its Activated Roller Belt (ARB). According to Paul Neuschwander, Global Advisor for the Intralox packer to palletizer team for beverages, the team combines the best ideas and layouts from around the world and uses this information to reduce project risk and timelines, and create better plant floor layout designs.

Image #33 in the article text.Image #33 in the article text.This knowledge, along with ARB technology, allows Intralox to combine multiple pieces of equipment into one piece of machinery, providing space saving on the plant floor, while often reducing capital expenditure.

Intralox Packer to Palletizer ARB technology lets end users reduce the number of conveyors needed, shortening installation time and reducing labor. In fact, Neuschwander said one end user was able to double its filling capacity after installing an ARB solution.

Check out the many solutions featured by Intralox at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/175.

Offering six times faster changeover, Piab’s Changeover Champion vacuum conveyor piFLOW®p SMART enables users to save time when changing from one material to another, increasing the productivity of their operations. The new technology made its debut during PACK EXPO Connects. According to the company, a changeover that would take one hour in a conventional vacuum conveyor takes only 10 minutes in the company’s new vacuum conveyor.

The piFLOW®p SMART is a self-optimizing vacuum conveyor targeted primarily at industries handling many different materials and/or those in which frequent changes need to be made. With each new conveying cycle, the piFLOW®p SMART uses machine learning to automatically tune the process by configuring and optimizing a flawless flow of materials, set at the correct rate.

“After just a few cycles, piFLOW®p SMART has figured out what type of material it is dealing with and will automatically adjust itself to optimize how the material is conveyed. There is no longer a need for operators to re-adjust settings between different batches of materials. piFLOW®p SMART will do it for you with higher accuracy than even the most experienced operator can deliver,” explained Milan Bratt, Product Manager Vacuum Conveying.

Check out the many solutions featured by Piab at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/206.

Span Tech LLC  introduced a new line of adjustable guide rails to the marketplace during PACK EXPO Connects. The most notable feature of the EZ Guide system is it does not have any protruding brackets or shafts that could be a major safety hazard. Traditional guide rail systems use a solid-mounted shaft to mount the guide rail. When the rail is adjusted to its “retracted” position, these shafts stick out from the sides of the conveyor, becoming a place where someone can easily get their clothes or body parts caught. The EZ Guide system does not have any mechanical components which protrude from the sides of the conveyor during adjustment. All the mechanics are done without the need to protrude past the conveyor, keeping everything safe for those walking close to the conveyors.

Another feature of EZ Guide is it is designed to remain adjustable through curves. That is, the radius of the guides can change as the guide width is increased/decreased in the curve. While there are many traditional guide rail systems that can be made to adjust their width in straight sections, there are very few that can truly be adjustable through a curved portion of conveyor. The reason is because changing the radius of a section is difficult—the guides must bend, and the length of the guide has to increase/decrease as the radius is changed. The EZ Guide system handles both of those problems with its unique design.

“I can get consistent curves without a whole bunch of work and without any rods sticking out,” said Bud Layne, owner of Span Tech LLC.

Check out the many solutions featured by Span Tech at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/498.

Septimatech featured its new enhanced Multi-Lane Guide Adjust System (26), which eliminates change parts, lane spacers, and heavy lifting equipment that cause unnecessary downtime, ergonomic risks, and expense. With this system, one person can adjust a 30-ft section of case packer accumulation lane dividers and lane guides simultaneously from one location in seconds. That’s a job that would typically take two people 35-50 minutes to do.

The Multi-Lane Guide Adjust system creates up to seven lanes with a minimal width of 1.5 in. Adjustments are repeatable and accurate up to ±1 mm with no fine-tuning required. The system can be installed on existing support systems and dividers.

A large CPG company with nine changeovers per month noted that the ergonomic risk is essentially eliminated with the Multi-Lane Adjust system, with no chance of operator injury, Carey commented. The operator makes the adjustment from a single standing location in front of a chest-high wheel adjustor, requiring no ladders or heavy, awkward lifting. “This same customer recorded a 3% increase in OEE that guaranteed the return on investment of less than one year,” Carey said. “And the system was easily installed on their existing support brackets, making the retrofit very cost-effective.”

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Septimatech at its PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/172.

Case packing innovations
Aagard
at PACK EXPO Connects featured their Myrias case packing concept (27). Why “Myrias?” Because with this machinery they solved one customer’s business challenge by developing an automated case packing system that produces variety packs in a myriad of configurations—more than 4,000—ranging from 1-6 flavors and permitting case counts of 12 to 96. Oh, and it operates at 100 cases/min.

According to Aagards’s Jason Norlien, Vice President of Technical Sales, lots of brand owners recognize the growing marketplace demand for variety packs. But too often they’re just not equipped to produce such formats, so they wind up sending palletized cases to a contract-packager who tears the cases apart and re-packages the case contents in the variety format—usually by hand. Myrias is designed to address this dilemma by permitting the brand owner to bring variety packing in-house.

“For this particular customer the primary package being case packed is a single-serve cup of food that has been retorted,” said Norlien. “Among the challenges we faced was the need for a machine that could handle small 12-count cases as well as large cases holding up to 96 cups. The large cases require such a big pitch that we could never run the small cases at the speeds the customer was looking for—unless, of course, we could vary the pitch infinitely at the touch of a button on the HMI. And that’s where the iTRAK came in.”

Rockwell’s iTRAK is a modular, scalable, linear servo motor system that allows for independent control of multiple movers on straight or curvilinear paths. It eliminates the rotary driven chains, belts, and gears traditionally used, replacing hardware with simple, effective software profiles that redefine speed and flexibility in automation.

Myrias relies not on one but on two iTRAK systems. One is used to build the layers of cups that need to go into the article buckets from which cups are pushed into cases. And since the number of cups going into an article bucket can vary from 12 to 96, relying on a conventional mechanical flight chain assembly where the buckets have to be modified physically was never going to be adequate. “We needed a way to change out the pitch and size of these article buckets without involving physical change parts,” says Norlien. The iTRAK and its infinitely variable movers was just the ticket, he says.

The second iTRAK is what transports wraparound corrugated cases from the station where they’re erected to the station where they have cups pushed into them. Flat blanks are picked from a magazine, plunged into tools that erect them, and then placed in the flights of the iTrak system. Because these flights are on the iTRAK movers, which can be adjusted at the touch of a button, changing from one case size to another is done at the touch of a button.

Impressive as this cup-insertion and case-handling technology is, there’s some upstream automation that’s every bit as notable. Because the Myrias needs to build variety-pack cases having as many as six different flavors, the front end of the machine consists of six depalletizing stations. Each station has two gantry robots. One uses vacuum suction cups to pick cups from the large trays on which they are stacked and place them into the six flavor lanes that lead to the downstream case packing operation. The other gantry is responsible for picking the empty trays and stacking them for removal.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Aagard at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/214.

Proud of being a family-owned firm in a world of acquisition, Hamrick Packaging Systems—formerly Hamrick Manufacturing & Service, Inc.—took advantage of PACK EXPO Connects to highlight its new identity.

Also featured was the new Model 600D-S All-Servo Case Packer (28). It incorporates a servo case-lift table, side-belt servo lane divider, servo case indexing system, and a premium controls package. It runs at speeds to 30+ cycles/min and has multi-case per cycle ability, which means undersized cases can run in excess of 60 cases/min. It’s an ideal solution for a dedicated line, but flexible enough for a co-packing operation.

The other point of emphasis at PACK EXPO Connects was Hamrick’s pursuit into robotics. On January 1, 2020, Hamrick joined FANUC as an Authorized System Integrator of secondary robotic pick/pack/palletize solutions. The firm is closing in on its year one goal of 10 robotic arms, and it’s looking likely the year-end total will be closer to 13-15. This includes robotic partition inserters, robotic case packers, robotic palletizers, and collaborative robotic palletizers for low-speed, small-footprint areas. Hamrick’s plan is to invest heavily in the robotic areas of growth.

As for the re-brand, it’s about focusing more on the firm’s growth in the packaging industry and an emphasis on its new capabilities. Hamrick has primarily gone from being an OEM of case packers to being an experienced supplier of integrated packaging systems from erecting through palletizing. The firm is finalizing details on a new 65,000-sq-ft facility that will enable it to continue its growth from $15M/year to $50M/year.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Hamrick at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/133.

Heat and Control, Inc., took advantage of PACK EXPO Connects to not only show its world-leading food processing and packaging equipment but also to celebrate its 70th anniversary.

For meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and a growing menu of other prepared foods, Heat and Control builds a complete range of equipment for coating application, cooking, grill marking, and searing solutions. Snack food processing is another specialty. From unloading raw produce to frying, conveying, seasoning, packaging, and inspection, the firm provides all the equipment and services required to make the highest quality snack foods while achieving higher capacities and lower production costs.

On the packaging equipment side, one notable highlight at PACK EXPO Connects was the automatic case packer ACP-700 Series, which offers production efficiency not experienced to date. It provides additional flexibility, enhanced line communications, and easy operator interface while significantly improving the changeover cycle of case packing. Ideal for the snack food case packing industry, which has been asking for effective automation and communications between the weigher, bagmaker, and case packer, this end-of-line solution significantly improves efficiency and performance.

With the case packer’s controls system’s feed-forward and feed-back features, the flow of bags is more measured and controlled. This reduces bottlenecks by continuously adjusting settings as bags are running through the system. The machine uses feed-forward communications to the case packer and feed-back communications to the bagmaker. Plus, a seal checker continuously monitors fill level and compares bags to the targeted value so the case packer can automatically optimize the machine operation appropriately, as well as check for leaking bags. This helps to maximize cooperation and to deliver stable operation.

Changeovers have been an area where improvements need to be made, especially when it comes to changing pack patterns and associated down-time. The loss of production time to perform changeovers has been a thorn in the side for some time as well as the operator labor that is associated with it. The ACP-700 Series can perform a three-minute changeover that is achieved by removing the requirement for tools or changeover parts. Plus, the removal of a troublesome vacuum system usually required for bag handling, further minimizing production downtime.

Improvements in controls systems also influence the speed at which a changeover can be made and is achieved in part due to automatic adjustment capability. The operator can easily change the bag count per row or row per case by setting the value in the Human Machine Interface (HMI). Change of timing values and mechanical adjustments is made automatically, no operator manual adjustments are required. Further, with the ability to hold up to 200 presets via the large HMI, the operator experience is considerably simple.

For more on what Heat and Control was highlighting at PACK EXPO Connects, go to PE.show/355.

A machine type so new to the industry that its manufacturer isn’t sure yet what naming convention to use, the new Duo from Fallas Automation  can erect pre-glued RSCs as well as form an array of case and tray styles, including Display Ready Cases (DRCs), from flat blanks, all in one machine. Said Fallas Automation Vice President of Sales Chris Calabrese, the company took the best of its CE400 case erector and combined it with its CF-700 flat-blank, plunge-style case former, “using all the latest and greatest technology in it like Industry 4.0 predictive maintenance, machine status controls, and lighting,” to create the Duo.

Over the past five years, Calabrese added, brand owners have been under increasing pressure to pack their product in DRCs for retail. “For customers that are trying to get into Walmart, they have to have a DRC,” he said. “And so, they’re torn between two machines. A lot of times they may just hand-make one kind of case, but it gets to be a mess because they have all these different logistics and different timing, and they really need to automate. But they can’t do that unless they buy two machines that make two different kinds of cases. So, we wanted to give them the best of both in one machine.”

The Duo can erect RSCs in dimensions up to 24 in. L x 16 in. W x 12 in. H at 25 to 30 cases/min, depending on the size of the case. Currently, the machine tapes the case bottom, but Fallas is working on a gluing module that will be released at a later date.

As for plunge-style cases that are formed from die-cut corrugated blanks and then glued, the Duo can create a range of styles, including harness, split rear minor, DRC, and Half-Slotted Container. It can also form a beer tray with a 2-in. lip and a four-corner post clubstore tray. The size range for plunge-formed cases depends on the case/tray style, but the Duo accommodates roughly the same size for these cases as it does for RSCs: 24 x 16 x 12 in. According to Calabrese, the machine can be lengthened for larger flap styles, and Fallas can customize the machine for other case styles. The Duo produces plunge-formed cases at 30/min; Fallas can also create a dual-head machine for 60/min.

When using the Duo for harness and split rear minor plunge-formed cases, Calabrese said users can save from 10% to 35% in corrugated versus an RSC. The harness style, he explained, is similar to an RSC, but because it’s made from die-cut corrugated, it reduces corrugated by up to 35%. The split rear minor is like the harness, but is stronger, using a double-wall feature. It can reduce corrugated by 10% to 15% versus an RSC.

The Duo is engineered so that both the RSCs and the plunge-formed case blanks are held in the same magazine. If the machine is forming cases or trays from flat blanks, the die-cut corrugated is picked from the magazine and put into position in the forming station, where a mandrel descends and plunges the blank through the machine, forming and gluing it before it is deposited on a conveyor below to be carried away from the machine.

RSCs, likewise, are picked from the magazine and put into position in the plunge-forming area, except, as Calabrese explained, “there’s a set of lug belts on top and bottom and a 90-deg case erecting arm that comes into play.” He added, “The arm raises the case up and erects it at 90 degrees. Then, the lug chain moves it forward, with the lugs keeping the case square as it advances. A series of flat tuckers then tuck the bottom flaps and tape the case just like a regular case erector. The belt then carries the case out of the side of machine.”

Changeover for RSCs comprises five changeover points, for width, length, and height—a process Calabrese estimated takes around three minutes. Changeover for flat blanks, which involves swapping mandrel sizes, depending on the case size, takes just five minutes. According to Calabrese, Fallas is working to provide automatic changeover on the Duo in the future.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Fallas Automation at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/130.

Eastey, a manufacturer of shrink packaging equipment, automated case erectors, tapers, and material handling solutions, used PACK EXPO Connects to introduce the ERX-15 Automatic Case Erector (29), which is designed to efficiently form and seal the bottom of corrugated cases in a single pass.

The ERX-15 Case Erector is designed to automatically erect and seal the bottoms of corrugated cases at production rates up to 15 cases/min. It is designed to keep production and maintenance efforts at a minimum while providing fast, efficient case erecting, making the ERX-15 a capable alternative to manual case forming.

The ERX-15 Case Erector enables a single operator to form, seal, and pack corrugated cases. Operation is simple: load up to 200 cases in the case magazine hopper and set the system to run or jog mode. Separators release the leading blank case where a series of eight vacuum suction cups hold the case in a properly formed square position. After a set of stationary flap folding bars fold both minor and major bottom flaps, the case is then transitioned and the bottom is sealed with Eastey’s proven EX tape head.

The versatile design of the ERX-15 allows operators the flexibility of adjusting on the fly with easy-to-use hand tighten knobs and cranks. No tools are needed and users can complete a changeover in minutes. ERX-15 features a wide range of case sizes as large as 19.5 in. L x 19.5 in. H x 15.5 in. W.

Dual 14 HP side drive motors, eight precise double vacuum powered suction cups, and aggressive industrial strength drive belts make ERX-15 a workhorse that will stand up to today’s toughest challenges. Each case erector is made from steel with a powder coated exterior to protect the system from abusive industrial conditions and ensure years of use.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Eastey at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/166.

Next-gen labeling
ID Technology
, a ProMach brand, used PACK EXPO Connects to help introduce their new Model 258 print & apply label applicator (30) with CrossMerge technology. Designed for labeling cases and trays with GS1-compliant barcodes and alpha-numeric text at very high speeds, the Model 258 applicator improves print quality and barcode readability while massively easing use with its unique one-button operation.

“Our patent-pending CrossMerge technology allows us to decouple print speed from line speed and rotate the print head to change print orientation. This increases line throughput while decreasing print speed to simultaneously maximize packaging line output and enhance print quality,” said Mark Bowden, Vice President of Sales & Service at ID Technology. “Our next-generation Model 258 labeler also simplifies operation. Single-button functionality and the ability to easily swing the applicator from its running position to its service position and back make the Model 258 perfect for less trained operators in high-turnover environments.”

Unlike traditional tamp or feed-on-demand print & apply labelers that must produce linear barcodes in the non-preferred ‘ladder’ direction to apply GS1-compliant labels in landscape orientation, CrossMerge prints barcodes in the preferred ‘picket fence’ direction and applies labels in landscape orientation. CrossMerge technology enables the Model 258 label applicator to produce more readable barcodes with crisper edges to ensure the best scores when verified.

By rotating the print head, the Model 258 applicator can print a 4x2 label to apply a 2x4 label, which optimizes the conditions for both barcode printing and label application. This facilitates 50% more labels on the roll, running line speeds up to 50% faster and/or achieving 50% greater print head and print engine life. The 258 applicator maximizes uptime and minimizes the total cost of ownership while enhancing print quality.

Dedicated to labeling cases and trays, the 258 applicator prints and applies labels 3.5 to 6 ins. (90 to 152 mm) wide and 1.75 to 4 ins. (45 to 100 mm) in length to cases and trays on packaging lines running at speeds of up to 190 ft. (58 m) per minute.

Compared to traditional print & apply labelers that require the printer to pause while the tamp pad is traversing, CrossMerge decouples print speed from line speed. Using a vacuum belt to transfer labels from the print engine to the point of application, the Model 258 applicator allows multiple labels to be on the vacuum belt at the same time and enables the system to start printing the label for the next product without delay. The all-electric design features a fan-based vacuum generator—it requires no factory air.

Together, the high-speed vacuum belt, which transfers the labels, and the carbon fiber blades, which finish the label application to cases or trays, minimize moving parts to further reduce maintenance and enhance reliability. The system achieves consistently precise label handling and placement. Rolling labels onto packages eliminates complicated timing issues and improves worker safety compared to traditional tamp assemblies.

ID Technology designed the Model 258 applicator for operators. A single touch button controls on/off/label-feed, eliminating the need for a complex HMI. A beacon light indicates status. The 258 automatically goes offline when the unit is rotated from its running position to its service position clear of the conveyor, easing use and maximizing worker safety when loading labels, cleaning the print head or performing other maintenance.

The Model 258 label applicator can be combined with a thermal transfer or direct transfer print engine to print linear and 2D barcodes, including serialized barcodes, and variable information text to ‘bright stock’ or pre-printed pressure sensitive labels. It applies side labels to cases, trays, shrink-wrapped bundles and other secondary packages. An optional ‘zero downtime’ configuration, with two integrated 258 machines, can speed changeover and maximize throughput.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by ID Technology at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/284.

At PACK EXPO Connects, Universal Labeling Systems shared that it has made technology enhancements to its Contract Packager (CP) Series, which comprises the CP2000 and CP1000 front-and-back multipurpose labeling systems. The series now features an expansive touchscreen control package that includes both stepper- and servo-driven technologies, along with AC drive motors.

Among the features of the CP Series highlighted by Universal Labeling were a new, multi-level menu system, synchronous electronic controls, a servo-driven synchronous overhead hold-down belt mechanism, servo-driven synchronous product positioning without changeparts, and what it says is the industry’s widest overhead hold-down belt. The labeling system also features four-axis label applicator adjustments, built-in “Z-axis” adjustments, and application-security password protection.

The CP Series is constructed of an extra heavy-duty welded system framework and a “workhorse” Delrin chain conveyor. It offers variable label dispense speeds to 3,000 in./min, web widths up to 6.25 in. standard with optional widths up to 10.125 in., and a label roll capacity from 12 in. to 16 in. O.D.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Universal Labeling Systems at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/162.

Accraply, a Barry-Wehmiller Packaging Systems company, used PACK EXPO Connects to demonstrate the next generation roll-fed labeling technology that’s being added to its Trine product line. The recently debuted modular labeling station (31) is now available for both existing and new customers.

The Trine Modular Labeling Station, which includes the latest in glue roller and cutter technologies, was designed to integrate seamlessly with existing Trine equipment. By leveraging existing product handling systems and Trine change parts, this system can be installed in as quickly as three days, which helps to avoid unnecessary downtime and line reconfiguration.

This system comes with the SmartLink HMI, which features a next generation controls platform with efficiency reporting, preventative maintenance alerts, self-diagnosing software, video tutorials and online parts ordering. These features dramatically simplify operation.

Additionally, this system was designed to reduce maintenance costs. This is a self-timing, servo-driven system with fewer moving components and fewer parts to replace. This reduces the need for operator adjustments. The updated cutter blades are easy to install and tune and are rated for more than two million cuts. The glue roller and glue scraper systems included in the Trine Modular Labeling Station are safe, easy to clean, and provide simple setup, reducing the time and effort spent on maintenance.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Accaply, Inc. at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/121.

American Film and Machinery, formerly NAFM, a manufacturer of shrink sleeve and label solutions, used PACK EXPO Connects to introduce its CH-100 Tamper Band applicator. The CH-100 is designed for low to moderate production rates and is a perfect solution for industries including food and beverage, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, health and beauty, consumer goods, chemical, and other manufactured goods.

The CH-100 is a fast and efficient butterfly mandrel style tamper band applicator engineered to meet the demand of your workflow. Designed for 24-hour operation, CH-100’s simple and low maintenance design allows for quick film change and maximum uptime. CH-100’s compact housing is constructed from 304-grade stainless steel and anodized aluminum to provide strength and reduce vibration while offering quiet operation. Product runs are programmed with the user-friendly touch-screen control interface, making setup and operation fast and easy.

The CH-100 Tamper Band Applicators are designed with stepper motor driven, single film unwind with tension control, cutter assembly, and pneumatic cylinder to provide accurate and consistent tamper band application. CH-100 has been engineered to handle round bottles made of plastic, glass, or metal at speeds up to 120CPM. The single blade guillotine cutting mechanism provides extremely smooth, even cutting of PVC/PETG film 50 to 70 microns in thickness.

The machines feature a single unwind system with tension control for proper film alignment, and a photo eye sensor system allows for register cutting, guaranteeing accurate cutting of the film for consistent band application on the container. The CH-100 also comes with the company’s quick-change system for switching mandrels with a turn of a knob. Along with the mandrel, the cutter assembly has only two levers to turn, keeping your downtime to a minimum.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by AFM at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/326.

Compact palletizing
The new compact and flexible HL2200 high-level palletizer (32) from Columbia Machine, Inc. includes a VFD (Variable Frequency Drive)-controlled hoist, a bi-parting layer apron, centering side layer guides with Smart Squeeze technology for misformed layer detection, and more. According to the company, the HL2200 is capable of palletizing virtually any package type, including unwrapped trays, film-only bundles, plastic totes, RPCs, and others. When equipped with optional small-case handling components, the HL2200 is ideally suited to palletize very tall and narrow product even with a high center of gravity.

Options include Smart Diagnostics with video playback to assist maintenance personnel in identifying the cause of a machine stoppage and a servo-actuated touchless turning infeed for gentle package handling, display-ready case orienting, or four-way “labels out” layer forming.

"Columbia is renowned for the industry-leading safety and guarding system that provides ‘next level protection,’” the company said at its demo during PACK EXPO Connects. “On the HL2200, this standard package includes Category 3, Performance Level D safety components and incorporates fully integrated guarding, full-height light curtains, automatic four-point hoist pins, a case infeed tunnel, and interlocked load-building area access doors. This safety package keeps your employees safe while still being operationally ‘friendly’ and meeting production demands by providing convenient and safe access when needed.”

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by Columbia Machine at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/128.

BW Integrated Systems has developed Maximus—a mid-speed case palletizer (33) that meets several growing demands for palletizers including greater flexibility, a smaller footprint, and reduced operational costs, among others. The state-of-the-art operator interface and compact footprint are among the industry-leading features, but what makes Maximus stand out is that it is 100% electric.

Making its debut at PACK EXPO Connects, Maximus is the product of customer insights and the top palletizing experts in North America. It is more reliable and costs less to operate than other mid-market case palletizers. With Maximus, BW Integrated Systems expects to impact the 30-70 case-per-minute palletizing market.

Check out the many packaging solutions featured by BW Integrated Systems at their PACK EXPO Connects Virtual Showroom, found at PE.show/137.


 


 


 


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